Tongue disorders include any injury, discoloration, sores, bumps or hairiness around the tongue. Traumatic injury is the most common reason for tongue discomfort, and less-common disorders include thrush, burning-mouth syndrome and throat cancer, reports Merck Manuals.
Tongue disorders usually consist of discoloration or soreness. WebMD reports that the majority of tongue disorders are not serious and may be cured quickly. A whitish coating on the tongue or white spots may indicate leukoplakia or oral thrush. Lekoplakia develops when the tongue has become irritated and is common among people who use tobacco products and, despite rare exceptions where it may be a precursor to cancer, is generally harmless. Oral thrush is a yeast infection that produces white spots on the tongue and is common among infants, the elderly and diabetics.
Canker sores are relatively common, likely induced by stress and may spread to the tongue. In postmenopausal women, a condition known as burning-mouth syndrome may produce a burning sensation throughout the entire mouth region, including the tongue, and may alter a person's sense of taste. A strawberry-colored tongue may be indicative of a shortage of vitamin B-12 or scarlet fever. According to Merck Manuals, in very rare cases a discolored, painful or hairy tongue can be a sign of cancer or AIDS.